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New to the group? TI-99/4A FAQ, Hardware and software resources READ FIRST!

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This is a work in progress.. will be happy to add anything missing - Greg

 

A few bits of information, rules and guidelines on posting.
Short links to our sub-forums:
TI-99/4A Computers http://ti99.atariage.com
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Please read the AtariAge site guidelines which apply to and are enforced in our subs.
Our sub-forums are divided to help cater to the varied interests in our beloved platform. The parent sub-forum, TI-99/4A Computers, contains general information and conversation regarding the TI-99/4A and its siblings, such as the 99/2, 99/8, CC-40, and BASICALCS. The sub-forum TI-99/4A Development is for conversations, information, announcements, etc. pertaining to programming, tinkering, or the development of software or hardware for these computers.
This division is not intended to be a separation of the community but rather a way for those who have little interest in development but moreso in general discussions to focus their time on the fun-zone, while those who take more interest in the deep-down nitty-gritty and not so much general shenanigans to focus their attention just the same. The rest of us can spend all the time we want and will peruse both subs with reckless abandon.
Insofar as development is concerned, once hardware or software has been completed or is at least ready for general consumption, an announcement should be made in the general TI-99/4A Computers forum for all to partake. Further development and inquiries should still be continued within the TI-99/4A Development sub-forum.
The forum leader will move threads to a more appropriate forum. This may also be done by request should a thread be started in the wrong forum by accident or the trajectory changes from general to development or vice-versa.
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Anything you would like to share with your fellow 99ers but is seriously off-topic for the forum may be posted in the official off-topic thread, located here http://atariage.com/forums/topic/217259-ot-p%c9%90%c7%9d%c9%b9%c9%a5%ca%87-%c6%83uid%c9%afnp-;/
All of us are ready and willing to provide answers to your TI-99 questions if we can, some will just chime in if they cannot, and others will just lurk. If you have any questions specifically pertaining to the operation of our forums, please feel free inquire of the forum leader via Private Message (PM,) or one of the global moderators.

 

TI-99/4a and related Web pages:

FTP site: ftp://ftp.whtech.com/ (ftp login is anonymous with NO PASSWORD) or just use http://ftp.whtech.com

Gameshelf: http://tigameshelf.net/

Tech Pages: http://www.nouspikel.com/ti99/titechpages.htm

Mainbyte photos lists and projects: http://mainbyte.com/ti99/

Fred Kaal's site: http://www.ti99-geek.nl/

99er.net: http://99er.net/

ninerpedia: http://www.ninerpedia.org

99ers hall of fame: http://ti99ers.org/hof/

Jim Peterson Awards: http://ti99ers.org/forum/viewthread.php?thread_id=77&pid=90#post_90

Tursi's TI software: http://www.harmlesslion.com/cgi-bin/showprog.cgi?TI994A

http://www.ti99.com/

http://www.ti99.eu/

 

 

Users Groups:

TI 99/4a OLUG: http://ti99ers.org

Chicago TI 99/4a Users group: http://ti99ers.org/hof/bios/ChicagoUG/ChicagoUG.htm - The Chicago users group meets monthly and has a ustream.tv stream at https://www.ustream.tv/channel/chicagotiusersgroup%27s-show

Austrian TI-99 Club: http://ti99blog.webs.com/- The new Austrian TI-99 Club has a meeting on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 7pm (GMT+1) Please pass this Information on to any 99ers you know from Austria. International Guests are very welcome

TI 99/4a Italian User Club: http://www.ti99iuc.it

TI user group of the UK: http://www.ti99ug.co.uk/

TI Gebruikersgroep (Netherlands): http://www.ti-99.nl/

TI Club Errorfree (Germany): http://www.errorfree.de/

 

 

User meets/festivals:

USA:

Chicago TI Fest: November 10, 2018 - Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave, Evanston, IL 60201

TI Fest West: TBD\Apri 2019 - TBD

Portland Retro Gaming Expo: October 19-21, 2018 at the Portland Oregon Convention Center tickets: TBA

Europe:

TIUGUK AGM Friday and Saturday the 12th and 13th of April 2019

TI Treffen Friday and Saturday the 4th and 5th of October Leichester Uk for more info see the TIUGUK group or reach David Caine on facebook

 

Windows Emulators:

classic99: http://www.harmlesslion.com/cgi-bin/showprog.cgi?search=Classic99

Win994a: http://www.99er.net/win994a.shtml

PC99: http://www.cadd99.com/

 

Linux Emulators:

ti99sim: http://www.mrousseau.org/programs/ti99sim/

 

DOS Emulators:

V9T9: http://www.99er.net/emul.shtml#V9T9

PC99: http://www.cadd99.com/

 

Multi-platform Emulators:

Mame/MESS: http://mamedev.org/ (emulates every version of the 99/4a, the Geneve, 99/8 and more!)

Java V9t9: http://eswartz.github.io/emul/

 

Browser based Emulators:

JS99er.net: http://js99er.net/

 

Vendors:

http://www.dsapsc.com/what-is-sid.html- SID99 add a SID soundchip to your TI

http://codehackcreate.com- F18A vga VDP replacement

https://www.arcadeshopper.com/ - Software, Hardware, Cables and adapters. Flashrom99, SAMS, USB Keyboard adapters, Extended Basic 27 suite, RXB and much more.. new games, multi-carts etc

 

FAQ:

  • What are the differences with the different versions of the console?
  • How do I hook up my TI to a modern tv/monitor?
  • What are all of the ports on the console?
  • I don't have a cassette cable to store/load programs how do I get one?
  • Can I use any cassette drive/audio source?
    • Yes there's an official TI program recorder but it is a standard audio cassette player, any player with the proper connections (mono audio out, mic in and remote) will work with the TI. Good tips on that link for setting up your recorder with the correct volume etc..
    • I have had success with a stereo to mono splitter on my PC and playing WAV files out using VLC to my TI as well. WAV files are here: http://ftp.whtech.com/Cassettes/
  • What are the best games for the TI-99/4A?
    • The best games are usually run in 32k from disk or use a large rom cartridge such as the 512k cart or the FlashROM99 or FlashGROM99 cartridges. RAM is a requirement for most modern home-brew games/demos.
    • The TI Gameshelf contains a database of all kinds of games including games that run from TI-Basic, Extended Basic and Assembly Language games that require a disk system and 32k.
    • There is a great game highscore contest here on this forum that we showcase some of the best games for the 4/a every month and the winner of the high score contest usually wins TI software or hardware donated by the last month's winner.
    • Rasumus and Sometimes99er are the most prolific home-brew game makers as of late and their software is featured here in the development forum. Cartridges for most of these are available at arcadeshopper.com.
  • Is there a multi-cart available?
  • What is the difference between ROM and GROM on a TI?
  • What is 32k ram expansion and how do I get one? Are bigger memory cards available?
  • What about the NanoPEB and CF7 sidecars?
    • NanoPEBs are available periodically on ebay and arcadeshopper.com a limited quantity is produced and sold without any regular schedule.
      • The NanoPEB has 32k ram expansion, floppy disk emulation off a proprietorially formatted CF card and a singleDTE 9pin RS232 port. This port is not software compatible with most serial programs (with the exception of TIMXT and the Web Browser software that are programmed for it) serial communication other than that only works with DSR calls (open RS232, etc..)
    • CF7's are only available used on the resale market or Ebay very seldomly.
      • The CF7 had 32k ram expansion, floppy disk emulation the same as the NanoPEB and a single PC Parallel port on a 25 pin connector. This port is not software compatible with programs that do not make DSR calls. Using the PIO device works fine in basic and other utilities that use that DSR.
    • The NanoPEB and CF7 file system on the CF card can only be read and written too using the software on the author's site, TIDIR from Fred Kaal or the java application TIImageTool.
  • What is TIPI?
    • TIPI is the TI to Raspberry PI connection. This leverages the cheap storage and internet connectivity of the PI for use on your TI-99/4a computer. In a nutshell, you get an equivalent to a hard disk, floppy drive emulation and internet connection as well as access to peripherals on the PI (such as the mouse, ports etc)
    • The raspberry PI is connected to the TI-99/4a via a sidecar or PEB box TIPI card. The sidecar TIPI card requires the sidecar 32k card with 44pin connector and external power supply to operate, while the PEB card plugs directly into the expansion box.
    • For updated/more info see: http://ti994a.cwfk.net/TIPI.html
      • TIPI
        (Pronounced tip-ee)
      • A File system and network access device for TI-99/4A

      • TIPI is a device for the TI-99-4A that allows communication between service scripts on a
        Raspberry PI and the TI-99/4A with DSR support to act as a filesystem, expose TCP and
        HTTP access through the Raspberry PI, and enable extensible PI services to the TI such as
        a mouse, or network gaming protocols.

      • TIPI is currently out in the wild, available from ArcadeShopper.com

      • TIPI sudecar prerequisites:

        • 32k sideport with stacking header expansion such as my memory card.
        • Powersupply for sideport 32k card.
        • 32k sideport set to use 'ext' instead of 'ti' power.
        • Suitable separate powersuppply for your Raspberry PI.
        • Your own Raspberry PI (model 3, 3b+ or zeroW supported)
        • SD-card with TIPI SD-Card image flashed
      • PEB version of TIPI is available now! Prerequisites:
        • Suitable separate powersuppply for your Raspberry PI.
        • Your own Raspberry PI (model 3, 3b+ or zeroW supported)
        • SD-card with TIPI SD-Card image flashed
      • TIPI Features:
        • DSR for file READ support:
          • INTERNAL/DISPLAY, FIXED/VARIABLE, PROGRAM, DIRECTORY

        • Write support:

          • INTERNAL/DISPLAY, FIXED/VARIABLE, PROGRAM

        • CATALOG support.

        • Sub-directory support.

        • Native file support:

          • /b99 /bas /xb files can be LOADed or SAVEd as PROGRAM files with automatic transformation to/from ASCII native os files.

          • /txt /a99 /b99 /bas /xb native os ascii files can be OPEN and READ as DISPLAY VARIABLE 80 files.

        • other native os files can be OPEN and READ as DISPLAY FIXED 128 files.

        • Partial long name support

          • CATALOG shows shortened names only

          • Long names and short names supported for file access.

        • DSR devices:

          • TIPI.

          • DSK0.

          • DSK1.

          • DSK2.

          • DSK3.

          • DSK.

          • PI.

          • URI1.

          • URI2.

          • URI3.

        • Special files:

          • PI.CLOCK - reading a DISPLAY 24 record returns asctime (time & date as string)

          • PI.STATUS - virtual D/V 80 file with list of network device info on PI. (mac addresses, and ip addresses for each network device )

          • PI.HTTP://... - GETs an HTTP url and let you access it like a normal file.

          • PI.TCP=hostname:port - open a socket, write opcode supported to write, read to read...

          • PI.STATUS - virtual D/V 80 file with version and network information.

          • PI.CONFIG - virtual D/V 80 file for configuration of TIPI services.

          • PI.UPGRADE - open and close (D/V 80) to trigger upgrade of TIPI services.

          • File name transformation:

          • Devices are mapped to unix filesystem locations:

          • TIPI. - /home/tipi/tipi_disk

          • DSK0. - /home/tipi/tipi_disk ( alias for TIPI. for disk unit 0 support )

          • DSK1. - /home/tipi/tipi_disk/DSK1

          • DSK2. - /home/tipi/tipi_disk/DSK2

          • DSK3. - /home/tipi/tipi_disk/DSK3

          • DSK. - /home/tipi/tipi_disk/

          • DSK1-3 are managed as symlinks, and can be configured with the TIPICFG program.

        • Raspberry PI transforms TI device-filenames with the following rules:

          • '.' in file or path names become '/'

          • '/' or '\' in file or path names becomes '.'

          • linux filenames with more than 10 characters can be referenced with either the long name, or the short hashed name

          • as listed in the CATALOG

          • there is no shortening support for directory names

          • capitalization is observed ( the host os provides a case sensitive filesystem, as is the TI FS )

        • Software currently available for the TIPI includes (but not limited too) or more info see http://atariage.com/forums/topic/278913-tipi-enabled-software-listing/

          • TELNET - native TI telnet application with 80 column color ANSI support (with f18a VDP) also does 40col and 64col modes for 9918a stock TI (32k,TIPI, with internet connection req)

          • CHATTI - native TI chat program that allows people to chat on the internet with other TIPI owners (32k, TIPI and internet connection req)

          • RPS - TI basic program that lets you play rock, paper, scissors with another TIPI owner over the internet (TIPI required)

  • How about the Speech Synthesizer
    • Plug it in and it is available to any program that supports it.
      • Extended basic will only say the words in the included vocabulary in the Extended basic manual. UPPER CASE ONLY if you use lower case it will say "UH OH" for every letter..
      • Terminal Emulator II will do "text to speech" and say any word spelled in the format documented in the manual.
    • What about the little door on the front?
      • Originally when the synthesizer was designed, it was programmed with about 300 words and phrases (the ones you can get from CALL SAY in Extended BASIC). TI's intention was to sell add-in modules that went into this compartment that would add additional words to the resident vocabulary. TI then figured out how to do unlimited text to speech through software, added that to Terminal Emulator II, and then there was no need for the add-in modules. So none were ever sold and very few of the speech synthesizers even have the connector inside the door for these to plug into.
    • I hear there are a couple lines that aren't passed through the speech synth? (these can be jumpered across the board to resolve)
      • 5v on pin 1 (Jedimatt sidecar32 requires)
      • Sound through (SID99 requires)
  • What is this Peripheral Expansion Box you speak of?
  • Can I hook up a PC keyboard to my TI?
  • What Joysticks and controllers are available for my TI?
  • Can I hook up a modem to my TI?
    • To hook up a modem you need a RS232 serial port
      • with a PEB and a RS232 card
      • with a NanoPEB
      • with a UberGROM board with the serial interface)
    • What is the pinout of the TI RS232 serial port?
    • What is the pinout of the NanoPEB?
    • What Terminal Software is there for the TI
      • Terminal Emulator II is a cartridge that will allow you to connect to RS232/1 or 2 at 110 and 300 baud. This software has it's own "terminal protocol" that allowed for changing character definitions and other cool stuff. Runs on a stock console without memory expansion.
      • FastTerm was a popular terminal program that gave you basic terminal functions and xmodem transfers. 32k and disk system required.
      • Telco is the most full featured terminal program for the TI, it included multiple terminal (including ANSI but no color) and transfer protocols, phone book and auto dialer and many other features. 32k and disk system required
      • Term80 allowed you to have an 80 column terminal on your 99/4a with the stock VDP, hard to read but amazing! 32k and disk system required
      • Mass Transfer was a terminal program that worked well to send multiple files between computers. 32k and disk system required (included in XB27 suite)
      • TIMXT is the latest terminal released allowing for up to 38000 baud full color ANSI terminal on a NanoPEB or TI rs232 card and 80 column text with the F18a VDP. 32k, rom load or disk system and F18a required. http://atariage.com/forums/topic/265573-timxt-terminal-emulator-dev/?do=findComment&comment=3761846
  • Can I hook up a printer to my TI?
    • Sure with the following cards/addons you can hook up a printer.
      • TI RS232 card has two serial ports and one parallel port. You can order a TI parallel cable here: http://www.cabledepot.com/05MCOlderTI.html
      • NanoPEB has a single serial port that is the same as a PC serial port. 9 pin
      • CF7 has a single parallel port that is the same as a PC parallel port 25 pin
      • There was a cartridge based program that included a cartridge based parallel port, these are relatively rare.
    • If you don't have a printer, you can use the program TI PRINT from Fred Kaal to use your PC's printer with your TI. You just need a serial port (same as the HDX set up) and this software: www.ti99-geek.nl/Projects/ti99print/ti99print.html
  • Disk drives?
    • TI made a stand alone disk controller and a PEB card that supported up to DS/SD diskettes. There is an 80 track modification available from hummingbird eproms to add 80 track drives to this controller.
    • Corcomp made a PEB disk controller and a sidecar "9900 Micro" that supported up to DS/DD diskettes. http://mainbyte.com/ti99/hardware/9900_micro/9900_micro.html
    • Myarc made a PEB disk controller that supported up to DS/DD diskettes.
    • Myarc also made a HFDC (hard, floppy disk controller) for the PEB that will support up to 80 track DS/DD disks on a 4/a and fully format 1.44mb HD disks on a Geneve (with the appropriate drive).
  • Hard drives?
    • TIPI provides a hierarchical file system (essentially a hard disk as far as the TI is concerned) for more information see the TIPI description above or http://ti994a.cwfk.net/TIPI.html
    • Myarc produced a Winchester Personality Card that allowed you to connect a WDS-100 SASI controller to your TI and then some MFM hard drives to the controller. This supported up to two 20meg drives. There are only three I know of in collectors hands.. Good luck on finding one!
    • Myarc produced a HFDC controller that in addition to disk drives supported up to 2 MFM hard drives as well, I have a 40mb one on my Geneve, not sure the max limit.. (rare)
    • S.N.U.G produced an excellent SCSI controller card that is compatible with the TI and Geneve. These are difficult and expensive to find for sale. http://www.s-n-u-g.de/home/index_e.php
    • WHSCSI card (Western Horizon SCSI card) Handles 7 SCSI drives and with a HP SCSI port splitter box could handle 6 more SCSI drives for a total of 13 SCSI drives (rare)
    • Therry designed a IDE controller for the 99/4a and some have been built as part of a group project among TI enthusiasts. These are not currently in production. but are open source you can build your own
  • Disk emulators?
  • RAM Disks?
    • Corcomp's 128k and 512k memory cards are basically only usable as RAMDISK these had no battery backup so power off=blank
    • Myarc's 128k and 512k memory cards contain a DSR routine for RAMDISK, these had no battery backup etc..
    • Horizion RAMDISK is a dedicated ramdisk of battery-backed memory. It will survive a reboot/power down as long as your batteries are good. Various sizes were released getting bigger as ram prices dropped.
  • Can I transfer files from my PC to my TI?
  • A web browser? seriously?
  • My TI isn't working right! help!​​
    • Keyboard issues
      • The keyboard is connected directly to the TI motherboard with a pin connector. This can become loose/dirty and may need cleaning/reseating. There is no logic within the keyboard is is merely shorting the keyboard lines when you hit the keys. If your cable is damaged there are replacements available at http://www.arcadeshopper.com/under hardware/cables
      • Alpha Lock issue: With the alpha lock key on you are unable to use the up direction with the joysticks. Release alpha lock to play games OR do this fix: http://mainbyte.com/ti99/console/alpha_lock.html
      • What keyboard do I have? There were at least 5 manufacturers of keyboards for the 99/4a. http://mainbyte.com/ti99/keyboard/keyboard.html has good pictures/info/schematic.
        • Mitsumi: These keyboards do not have any solder points except for the alpha-lock key connection and the ribbon cable. one-vintage-computer-keyboard-archer_1_3
        • Alps and others: These keyboards have solder points on the back of the PCBoard keyboard_back.jpg
          • these keyboards sometimes have dirt/corrosion in the switches that can be cleaned with contact cleaner or alcohol.
      • Console just BEEPS
        • The start up routine of a 99/4a initializes the sound chip with a tone and then the rom boot routine shuts off the tone.. If it just beeps either there is a bad connection to a perepherial OR a board level issue that is causing the startup routine to "lock". Check all socketed chips for good connection/corrosion etc and reseat.
      • Scrambled/Garbled screen graphics/text
        • 80% of the time this is VDP ram and it will need to be replaced.
          • Here is a great page on how to determine what RAM chip is bad: http://www.ninerpedia.org/index.php?title=Troubleshooting
            • VDP Ram is soldered into the motherboard and will need to be desoldered and replaced (suggest it is replaced with sockets and new ram inserted into the socket) this ram is TMS4116 static ram. Located in number 6 in this photo: http://mainbyte.com/ti99/hardware/big_mother2.jpg
            • The F18A VGA VDP replacement contains it's own VDP ram so replacing the TMS9918a VDP in your 4/a with a F18A will also replace bad memory without having to solder..
        • On NTSC/USA machines TMS9918a VDP is the hottest component on the motherboard and this tends to end it's life prematurely. Daily use consoles tend to have the VDP fry sooner or later. This chip is socketed so it is relatively easy to replace. It is covered with heatsync compound and there is a metal slug that sits on top of it under the RF shield on a original 4/a. On a QI model there is a metal heatsync clipped to the 9918a.
      • Cartridges don't work or don't work reliably.
        • The TI cartridge port is the most used part of a console. It tends to get dirty and gummed up. Info here on cleaning carts and the port: http://mainbyte.com/ti99/minimem/cart_fix.html
        • Replacement cartridge port boards are available on ebay and from vendors.

 

 

wip - will add more soon!

Edited by arcadeshopper
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Welcome!

 

Thanks! Haven't got anything set up yet — I'm moving into a larger space next month, so I'm waiting on that — but I'm really excited to get started.

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I've attached a cartridge listing that can be used to catalog a cart collection. :)

 

If anyone would like my Excel version PM me and I'll be happy to email (since I can't attach an Excel sheet to my post).

 

TI Carts.txt

Edited by digdugnate
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I've attached a cartridge listing that can be used to catalog a cart collection. :)

 

If anyone would like my Excel version PM me and I'll be happy to email (since I can't attach an Excel sheet to my post).

 

You can upload pretty much any file that will not otherwise load by renaming it as a ZIP by replacing the extension with “zip” or just adding “.zip”. Just be sure to include instructions on renaming the file. Of course, you can also simply zip up the file normally, which will obviate the necessity of renaming.

 

...lee

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I actually have a hardware question: Would I need the official tape deck and some proprietary cable to use tape programs, or would any tape deck and a male-to-male aux cable work fine?

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The cable would have to be made special, as one end is a 9-pin connector, but there is otherwise nothing really special about it. Pretty much any standard tape deck would work.

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I actually have a hardware question: Would I need the official tape deck and some proprietary cable to use tape programs, or would any tape deck and a male-to-male aux cable work fine?

 

you need the cable, which you can make yourself or I sell here: https://www.arcadeshopper.com/wp/?page_id=11#!/Cables/c/23804650/offset=0&sort=nameAsc

I've used many types of tape recorders and also a PC sound card with VLC to play the tapes out. lots of WAV files of tapes on ftp.whtech.com under cassettes

 

Greg

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The cable would have to be made special, as one end is a 9-pin connector, but there is otherwise nothing really special about it. Pretty much any standard tape deck would work.

 

you need the cable, which you can make yourself or I sell here: https://www.arcadeshopper.com/wp/?page_id=11#!/Cables/c/23804650/offset=0&sort=nameAsc

I've used many types of tape recorders and also a PC sound card with VLC to play the tapes out. lots of WAV files of tapes on ftp.whtech.com under cassettes

 

Greg

Thanks, both of you! Greg, your site's already been a godsend in helping me along - I've got no experience with electronics beyond plugging things into sockets, so being able to buy devices pre-built is super helpful.

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Hi Greg,

 

Youtube TI99 VIDEOS

(to setup emulators, etc.)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7jwHlQfNTAKQ9WdKORAnpA/videos?shelf_id=0&view=0&sort=dd

 

and Transfer Files between TI and PC

http://www.globeron.com/freedownload/services/TI99/TI-99-4A-PC-transfer-v1.12.pdf

 

 

it need some update to include Fred Kaal uberGrom + RS232 + HDX to do transfers

and also CADD PC99 utility on floppy disk for the TI-99/4A

 

and other options like nano-PEB / CF7+

FlashROM and SD card

FinalGROM and SD card

Lotharek Floppy Emulator (using SD card)

 

Cassette cable

- Normal tape recorder

- Smartphone with .wav files (and line-input signal / volume correction)

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I've attached a cartridge listing that can be used to catalog a cart collection. :)

 

If anyone would like my Excel version PM me and I'll be happy to email (since I can't attach an Excel sheet to my post).

 

 

See also Schmitzi's (Ralf) extensive list of modules

 

TI-99 TOXIC-LISTS - TI-99 - RESOURCES - Let´s have a list for it

TI-99 TOXIC-PICS - LookiLooki (NO login required! - just scroll down)

MESS-Starter-Batch - Starter-Batch/Helper for TI-99er´s & Geneve9640

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would you be able to add a link in the FinalGROM entry to where the files are located on whtech?

 

I think it would make it easier for us late-adopters to quickly get what we need. icon_smile.gif

 

Sure!

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